How accurate is a NBA2K simulation in terms of what we might see in a month’s time? The video we’ve placed at the top of this text looks like basketball, but how much of it is basketball?

That question leads to other questions — questions like, “Is it … realistic that Kelly Oubre is backing down Javale McGee in the post?” “Does Dwight Howard really participate in five out that much?” “Would Howard really have trouble backing down Devon Booker?” — and it runs straight into the deep variance that exists at the heart of sports.

You can measure the trajectory and entropy of ball movement in basketball and American football. There is a relationship between competitive balance and the popularity of an event. You can have a go at measuring who’s a predictable hitter in baseball and who’s an unpredictable hitter. NHL ‘underdog’ teams tend to do statistically better than basketball teams. …


Hi, friends —

I want to put some charts and images together to urge you to either stay home this Thanksgiving or to take a lot of precautions in the run-up to Thanksgiving and beyond.

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A few hasty late night thoughts at the dawn of a new political era:

1. Power analysis is complicated!

Don’t lose sight of trying to “get it right,” even amidst the often necessary urgency of the present.

Consider: Blackrock is a huge company whose investments help drive pollution. But how do you pressure Blackrock from the ground level to pursue a sensible climate investment policy? …


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The last time I had a cigarette was on New Year’s Eve, 2018. A frigid Scotland night. A friendly bouncer occasionally dipping inside the building to make sure people were getting enough water. No “Ode To The Mets” playing. No Ukrainian billionaire trying to pair up with Despot in an effort to redevelop Citi Field into something that went up and up into the sky and away like something you might find glowing ashen orange and red like sci-fi art from the 1970′s. No frizzy-haired laugh pushing me into a bar in Brooklyn so we could stare at a grandmotherly bartender like we were a pair of David Attenboroughs. No Patrick Lynch doing his best Dr. Strangelove impression. No train carrying me across the bridge, carrying me across the bridge, carrying me across the bridge.

Image: New York, Hedda Sterne, 1956.


This is an edited version of a longer piece. (There’s a greater personal dimension to this story.) Eviction moratoriums have since lifted in Massachusetts since this was written. What’s been set up to help folks as the eviction moratorium lifts is insufficient and under strain. And, more broadly, as of this posting, 3,535 evictions were filed in 20 cities across the country over the last week.

Eddie Coyle’s new friends have gotten into real estate. Or, to put it more plain: there are days when it feels like Boston — if not most of the state of Massachusetts — has been captured by real estate interests, and no one has seemingly been able to do anything about it for years. (We’ve been talking about establishing just cause eviction protections in Boston — that is, tenants simply being told why they’re being evicted — for six years, for instance.) What makes this problem worse is the degree to which people simply don’t seem to care, the degree to which people don’t organize, the degree to which people think things are fine, the degree to those who tell the story of Boston outside of Boston still think the city is stuck in 1970, the degree to which those inside Boston still carry a Dropkick Murphy’s-like idea of the city around with them, and how I’ll bet you dollars to Dunkin’ Doughnuts that everyone will inevitably grouse about how things ‘used to be’ twenty years hence. …


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The fulsomeness of New York. Buildings rising into verdancy in Medellin. A sunset as seen from Twin Peaks in San Francisco, the sun gently filling up the bay in the distance. The suburban quiet of Rowville, Australia. Bavarian hills maintaining their exact sense of self as someone drops some silverware in the background. The hanging plants and fairy lights in Brooklyn. …


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My friend,

I know any non-physical voice in a moment like this feels like a cardboard prop, something far off and far away, but I need you to suspend that filter for a second. I need you to believe that you’re surrounded by sweat fleeing New York City cops with The Strokes. I need you to believe that the rivers and green of West Virginia are still glowing like a freshly struck bell. …


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Truth, like love and sleep, resents
Approaches that are too intense.
— W.H. Auden, “New Year Letter”

Walter Benjamin spoke of an “angel of history” in his unpublished-at-the-time essay, “On The Concept Of History,” writing that —

His [that is, the angel’s face] face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. …


Thelonious Monk is dancing. He is rotating in a circle at the same speed with which one fixes a bicycle. (I’ve also heard rumors about yoga retreats in California where young kids in the neighborhood with a paper route make deliveries on bicycles where the wheels are simply the dhammacakka themselves and anyone who doesn’t know a yoga retreat is nearby stops short whenever they see this and begin to wonder what great thing is about the change. (And what do they hear?))


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Diners like The Airfield Café in North Hampton, New Hampshire or Nancy’s Airfield Café in Stow, Massachusetts are interesting in the same way that Drive-In movie theaters are interesting: there aren’t that many of them, and the persistence and presence of these institutions don’t just reflect the generic New England-like idea of looking at a piece of architecture and deciding to attach something else onto it, but an interesting way of the idea of eating at airports that has existed through the years.

Fine dining came to airports in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s through a combination of demand and an expectation that restaurants in airports would have significant responsibility for an airport’s overall revenue. In other words: good food aimed not just at travelers, but towards those who might not be traveling at all (with an eye cast towards later converting them into travelers.) …

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Evan Fleischer

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